Hot BC summer: How can I stay cool without an air conditioning unit during this hot summer?

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How can I stay cool without an air conditioning unit during this hot summer?


The summer is getting hot again and I am worried about another heatwave here in BC. Unfortunately, I cannot afford an AC unit that often costs several hundred dollars. Are there other tips and tricks I can use to stay cool and safe?

Our answer

Staying cool in the summer is a vital safety measurement and it is great that you are actively ensuring you stay safe. Last year British Columbia reported a record high heatwave. In contrast, this summer is not as hot as last year, but the risk of heat stroke and exhaustion should not be taken lightly. While air conditioning can be a quick and great solution, it is an expensive investment. There are several low-cost items and tricks you can implement to reduce the heat you are exposed to. There are many websites with tips and tricks on how to stay cool; here are a few that come from reputable sources:

Portable cooling products

  • GAIATOP Personal Neck Fan (at Amazon Canada) can be worn around your neck to provide you with cool air anywhere you go. It has three speeds to choose from and only weighs around eight ounces. The product costs around $20(CDN).
  • O2Cool Battery Powered Necklace Fan (at Amazon Canada) is another portable fan option. The product costs around $15(CDN).
  • Windriver Cool Wraps Bandanas (at Mark’s) keep you comfortable with water-activated cooling crystals. It’s a great choice for outdoor workers and folks engaged in high-energy activities like sports and play. The product costs around $15(CDN), plus additional shipping fees.

Affordable fans

For the best cooling effect, set up the fan several feet into the room but point towards an open window. During the hot hours, a fan can push out hot air from your house. Once it cools down outside, you can face the fan into your living space so it can suck in cooler outside air.

  • Bell and Howell Foldaway Rechargeable Floor and Table Fan (at Walmart) is a rechargeable, portable fan powerful enough to cool you from across the room. The battery lasts for around ten hours and once not in use, it can fold into a compact size for storage. The product costs around $40 (CDN), plus additional shipping fees.
  • Box Fans (at Amazon Canada) are usually more powerful than standard round fans and come with a three-speed setting. This model has a 20-inch diameter to circulate airflow efficiently. The product costs around $50 (CDN).

Cooling sheets

  • Luxear Cooling Blanket (at Amazon Canada) has two sides. The cooling side is made of Japanese cooling fibre and the cotton side is made of 100% natural breathable bamboo microfiber. These summer blankets are machine washable. The product costs around $50(CDN). 
  • Luxear Cooling Pillowcase (at Amazon Canada) also has two sides. The cooling side Q-max >0.4, which means it can reduce your body surface temperature by two Celsius, this can help those who suffer from night sweats and ensure cooler sleeps. The other side is cozy, soft, and made of 100% cotton fabric, perfect for all seasons. The product costs around $25 (CDN). 

Heat blocking solutions

  • Portable Blackout Curtain Shade with Suction Cups, (at Amazon Canada) these blackout curtains can block 85% to 95% of sunlight and harmful UV rays for better heat reduction. Installation and removal are made easy with the suction cups. The product costs around $35 (CDN). 
  • BGment Blackout Curtains (at Amazon Canada) insulate against summer heat and winter chill to balance your room temperature Package Includes: Set of 2 dark grey blackout curtains; Each panel measures 52 inches wide by 63 inches long. The product costs around $30 (CDN).
  • KESPEN Anti-UV Heat Control Reflective Glass Tint (at Amazon Canada) blocks out 91% of the solar rays by reflecting them away from the window, which can help keep your home cool in summer and retain heat in winter. The self-adhesive window privacy film adheres to the window through static, not glue, so it’s easy to install and remove without residue. The product costs around $70 (CDN) for a roll of 35.4 inches X 8.2 feet.
  • Sun Zero Duran Thermal Insulated Blackout Curtains (at Amazon Canada) blocks out 100% of light and it's thermal insulation helps keep summer heat and winter cold out. The curtain sizes can measure between 40 X 63 inches and 100 X 84 inches. This product costs between $27 and $89 (CDN). 

The most important takeaway is staying hydrated and in the shade and trying to keep your body temperature down. 

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